Okay, so I know I’m really late in posting a review for this movie. But after seeing it, I couldn’t think of a way to write a review without talking about spoilers… which might be a reflection of my ability as a critic, but that’s a whole other conversation, haha.
But it’s been 3 weeks since BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE has opened, so hopefully you’ve all seen it. And if you haven’t? Well I’ll tell you right now, THERE ARE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
But if you’re still here. Let’s be honest, you’ve all heard the general vibe/opinion of this movie, and it wasn’t good. Sadly, I’m in that camp.
So let’s get into it. As much as I’d been excited for this movie to come out, as soon as they announced the release date, I became instantly worried. See, my birthday is in the 3rd to last week of March (depending on how the calendar breaks any given year), and typically any movie I’ve been excited about that opened over the birthday weekend has been a mild to HUGE disappointment.
But I went ahead and researched this, because, who doesn’t like specifics? So looks like over the last 6 years, there’s only been one movie over the birthday weekend that left me with a huge smile on my face, and that was HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Nice job DreamWorks! 😉
Here’s the list:
- 2010: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
- 2011: SUCKER PUNCH
- 2012: THE HUNGER GAMES: Now to be fair, this was a completely serviceable movie. But I’d been such a big fan of the book, I just felt they left out so many subtle notes to really flesh out the movie, and ultimately was disappointed.
- 2013: G.I. JOE RETAILIATION
- 2014: There was no movie I’d been excited about in 2014. I mean, NOAH opened that year. But really, was anyone excited about that one?
- 2015: No movies in 2015 that I was excited about either. THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT opened in the “birthday curse window”, but I really didn’t fall in that target demo. I did end up seeing it on HBO, but it was AWFUL! But again, to be fair, not really in the target demo. Haha.
- 2016: BATMAN V SUPERMAN – DAWN OF JUSTICE
So yea, when they announced the date for BATMAN V SUPERMAN… I got a little worried.
And to be honest, every concern I had about this movie came to light. For some reason I feel like this started as a sequel to MAN OF STEEL, but then became BATMAN V SUPERMAN. Then news came that DC is ramping up to play catch-up to Marvel with a cinematic universe, and as a result they announced Wonder Woman, then Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash would all be in the movie as well.
And it was just too much. All I could think about was Sam Raimi’s SPIDERMAN 3. There were just too many characters, the movie had no real focus, and I got worried that was gonna happen here.
To be fair, the Justice League’s part in the movie was more of a cameo. But we’ll get into that later.
But right from the opening credits, I wasn’t sure what kind of movie I was watching. It started with Bruce Wayne doing a voice over while we’re shown the murder of his parents. I mean, I get that this sequence was to setup a darker, weathered Batman, but all I could think was, “Why are you telling me Batman’s origin again?”
And during this sequence, it had all of Snyder’s trademarks: hyper-stylized design, uber slow-motion, all of it. But what really got me was the typography for the credits. Don’t get me wrong, beautiful, but it didn’t seem to fit the movie they were selling. Between the style of the opening scene, right down to the typography, it felt like I was diving into a 1920’s crime movie, not a superhero brawl.
For me that set up the notion that Zack Snyder didn’t know what kind of movie he wanted to make. From scene to scene, it all felt so disjointed, they didn’t go together. Which, looking back, kind of made sense, because there was no real through-line of a story. This movie was like 5 movies in one: a Batman movie, a Superman movie, a Wonder Woman movie, a Lex Luthor movie, and a Justice League movie… Safe to say, whomever the decision makers were here, it kind of feels like they were paying more mind to setting a “DCU”, then actually making a good movie.
And right there was my big issue with the movie. There was no real story here running through the movie. It was basically a mash-up of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN storylines from the comics. That, and a sprinkle of Justice League cameos. And it just didn’t work.
And really, how are you gonna go with DEATH OF SUPERMAN? That story arc was SO BAD! And if they come back with 4 different Supermans in the movies for a follow-up, I might give up DC movies forever.
Another issue I had? If you’ve seen all the trailers and TV spots? You’ve literally seen the movie. And probably had a better experience seeing it too.
But I promised you mention of The Justice League. Basically Lex Luthor has been keeping tabs on metahumans, and Bruce Wayne hacks LexCorp computers, and comes across surveillance videos/files of: Cyborg, Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Which, admittingly was kind of cool. To have that reveal of characters in the DCU. But it was just so corny how it was presented. See, as Bruce is going through the LexCorp files, he comes across a directory where the files for the 4 characters. But here’s the file icons for each characters were basically symbols specific to those characters. For example, Wonder Woman’s “WW” was her’s. And again, I understand it was done like that to get the fans excited for the reveal, but all I could think was that there was some graphic designer at LexCorp that got bored, and decided to make icons for those files.
I realize I’m nit-picking here, but it would’ve been so much more of an exciting reveal, if they were just simple, generic system icons, and you’re presented with the Justice League as Bruce opens them. You know, the whole idea that you don’t know what’s going to happen next?
But this whole movie you knew what was going to happen going in, and that was from seeing the trailers: Superman and Batman are going to fight, you know they’re gonna make up, the movie is gonna setup The Justice League, you see Doomsday in the trailers, so you know Superman is gonna die.
Seriously, how are you going to give away the movie in your marketing?
But the whole Justice League reveal almost seemed shoe-horned in. Like it was an after-thought. Which was unfortunate. But to add to the Justice League cameo, there was one part where Bruce Wayne dreams, or has a vision of, who I assume was the Flash. Now I say “assume”, because you really can’t tell who it is in this moment. But this cameo, this character came out of a vortex in the Batcave warning Bruce of impending doom.
I think it’s the Flash because I immediately go to the Speed Force, and he comes back in time to warn Bruce in this vision.
Though I won’t even try and posset a reason why Bruce is having a vision about the Flash. Haha.
But if I could nit-pick a little more, if it was the Flash in that scene, it appeared he had somekind of mechanical mask by way of Iron Man? And all I could think was, “ugh”.
But now this movie wasn’t all bad. Essentially the action was great. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was awesome. And Ben Affleck made a great Batman. I know that might be shocking if you haven’t seen it, but it’s true.
Now I can ramble on, but ultimately this movie was (much like this review) was way too long, had no solid through-line of a story, and was a 3 hour setup for The Justice League.
If you haven’t seen it, but want to? I’d wait and see it on disc or On-Demand.
*end rant. 🙂